- The report unveiled an 11 percent increase in global malware, a 77 percent spike in IoT malware, a 132 percent rise in encrypted threats, and a geographically-driven shift in ransomware volume.
- “With so much turmoil in the geopolitical landscape, cybercrime is increasingly becoming more sophisticated and varying in the threats, tools, targets and locations.”
- With the holiday season quickly approaching, cybercriminals are waiting to breach networks across the nation.
As retailers continue to focus on supply chain and inventory issues, cybercriminals are becoming more dynamic and creative to carry out their attacks. A SonicWall report found record ransomware in 2021, with over 600 million attacks globally. Even though brands already have a lot on their plate, this data suggests they should prioritize cybersecurity to avoid additional disruptions, especially during the holidays.
A Seismic Shift in the Cyber Arms Race
Compared to 2021, the report unveiled an 11 percent increase in global malware, a 77 percent spike in IoT malware, a 132 percent rise in encrypted threats, and a geographically-driven shift in ransomware volume as geopolitical strife impacts cybercriminal activity in 2022. Cybercriminals can negatively impact your customers, your reputation, and your bottom line.
“In the cyber arms race, cybersecurity and geopolitics have always been inseparably linked, and in the last six months we have seen that play out across the cyber landscape,” SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner said. “The cyber warfare battlefront has shifted, as our data indicates a concerted effort to target financial sector companies. With major increases in encrypted threats, IoT malware, cryptojacking, and new unknown variants, it is critical that cybersecurity leaders have all the required tools and technology to proactively detect and remediate against increasingly sophisticated and targeted threats to their business.”
Ransomware Attacks Swell as Threat Landscape Shifts
After a record-breaking 2021, overall ransomware attacks have trended down in the first half of 2022, decreasing globally for the fourth consecutive quarter. Government sanctions, supply chain deficiencies, dropping cryptocurrency prices, and limited availability of needed infrastructure are all making it more difficult for cybercriminals. Proprietary SonicWall threat intelligence reinforces that analysis, as June 2022 saw the lowest monthly ransomware volume in two years, which helped drive down overall global volume.
“As bad actors diversify their tactics, and look to expand their attack vectors, we expect global ransomware volume to climb — not only in the next six months, but in the years to come,” Conner said. “With so much turmoil in the geopolitical landscape, cybercrime is increasingly becoming more sophisticated and varying in the threats, tools, targets and locations.”
Malware Rebounds with Global Spike
In 2021, malware volume was slightly down, marking a third-straight year of decrease as well as a seven-year low. However, as predicted in the SonicWall report, a rebound was anticipated, due to a significant uptick in attacks during the second half of 2021. That rebound was felt as more than 2.8 billion malware attacks occurred within the first six months of 2022. In North America, encrypted threats were up an astounding 284 percent and IoT malware soared 228 percent within that same time frame.
Similar to shifting ransomware numbers, malware volume was level or dropped in typical hot spots like the United States (-1%), United Kingdom (-9%) and Germany (-13%), while rising collectively in Europe (29%) and Asia (32%).
“The international threat landscape is now seeing an active migration that is profoundly changing the challenges not only in Europe, but the United States as well,” Emmanuel Chavoya, SonicWall expert on emerging threats, said. “Cybercriminals are working harder than ever to be ahead of the cybersecurity industry, and unlike many of the businesses they target, threat actors often have no shortage of skills, motivation, expertise, and funding within their organizations.”
Record Number of ‘Never-before-seen’ Malware Variants Discovered
New technology from SonicWall identified 270,228 never-before-seen malware variants during the first half of 2022 — a 45 percent increase year-to-date. The first quarter of 2022 marked a record-high in never-before-seen malware discoveries (147,851), with March 2022 being the most ever on record (59,259).
Since the introduction of the new technology in early 2018, new variants discovered have skyrocketed 21x through June 2022. These are new and previously unknown cyberattacks that are going undetected by traditional sandbox approaches.
How Retailers Can Prevent Against Cyberattacks
Retailers that are heavily reliant on POS systems should implement some best practices to help prevent the threat of cyberattacks. According to SecurityInfowatch, most POS systems have USB ports located somewhere on the device. If someone plugs their phone into the USB, it can unleash a virus and reside on your network for months before it actually starts sending information. Retailers should remind their employees not to plug their devices into these USB ports to ensure there are no attacks on the business network.
Another way to stop attacks is to ensure retailers have a system protecting them from constantly changing threats. Firewalls can help protect a network by filtering traffic and blocking malicious software. However, since viruses and cybercriminals are constantly evolving, it can be difficult for a standard router firewall to keep pace with these changes.
This means retailers should evaluate solutions that have features and benefits needed for their specific network. It is essential that this solution protects your business from evolving threats and allows it to run the network more efficiently, so be sure to look for solutions that are being updated consistently.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, cybercriminals are waiting to breach networks across the nation. Retailers should be well aware of these threats and take the necessary steps in order to keep both their business and customers safe and protected.